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Temple Linebacker from Woodbridge Charged in Rape

Praise Martin-Oguike, a 2011 Woodbridge High School graduate, has been released on bail after his arrest on charges of an alleged rape at the Philadelphia-based university.


A star linebacker who graduated from last year has been arrested on suspicion of rape at Temple University, the college that recruited him for their football team.

Praise Martin-Oguike, 19, a resident of the Sewaren section of Woodbridge, has been suspended from both the Temple Owls football team and the school itself, according to an ABC Local report.

Martin-Oguike was arrested after the victim reported the incident, which allegedly occurred on Memorial Day weekend, to Philadelphia police. 

The victim told police that she had gone up to Martin-Oguike's dorm room on campus when he allegedly tried to kiss her. She said that after she resisted his advances and tried to leave, Martin-Oguike allegedly grabbed her by the throat and dragged her back to the room where he allegedly raped and assaulted her.

After allegedly signing her out of the dorm after the assault as if nothing had happened, the victim said that Martin-Oguike allegedly texted her several hours later, asking, "Are you going to press charges?"

Martin-Oguike was arrested shortly thereafter on suspicion of aggravated assault, forcible rape, sexual assault, unlawful restraint, and forced imprisonment. He was released after posting 10 percent of a $15,000 bond, the Philadelphia Daily News reported.

"Praise Martin-Oguike has been unjustly charged with a most heinous crime," said Philadelphia attorney James Funt in a statement. Funt is representing Martin-Oguike.

"He is a good young man from a good family who has never been in trouble before. He is a valued member of his church and community in New Jersey," the attorney said.

In the statement, Funt said that the victim's allegations were 'baseless.'

The freshman linebacker's only mistake, his attorney said, "was rejecting this woman’s demands for a permanent relationship."

Martin-Oguike's family is well-rooted in the Woodbridge area. His father is the Rev. Canon Martin Oguike, the pastor of in Sewaren and Fords. Dr. Oguike was a native of Nigeria, where he witnessed the genocide of that country's civil wars before he emigrated to the United States.

After his suspension from school, Temple removed Martin-Oguike's page from their football website. The cached page says that the 6 ft. 1 freshman played in 7 games and made his Temple football debut in a game against Penn State.

"We are saddened that Temple chose to suspend this young man without due process and without making an effort to learn all of the facts," Funt said.

Martin-Oguike's preliminary hearing is set for June 14.

 

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